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How Qualcomm Plans to Dominate 5G

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Mar. 1 2019, Updated 10:00 p.m. ET

Qualcomm trying to pressure Intel

To dominate the 5G (fifth-generation) market, Qualcomm (QCOM) appears to be betting on chip technology advancement. The company recently unveiled its second-generation 5G modem chip, the Snapdragon X55. The first generation was the Snapdragon X50.

Qualcomm expects to start shipping the Snapdragon X55 chip to device manufacturers in the next few months, and the first consumer devices with the chip are expected to be on the market before 2020. These expectations suggest that devices powered by Qualcomm’s second-generation 5G chips could arrive ahead of devices powered by Intel’s (INTC) first-generation 5G chips, which, according to Reuters, Intel has said it does not expect to be on the market by 2020.

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Samsung using Qualcomm chips for 5G devices

As Intel is one of Qualcomm’s fiercest mobile chip competitors, staying ahead of Intel is important for Qualcomm in preserving its dominance of the market. Samsung (SSNLF), the world’s largest smartphone company by unit sales, is using Qualcomm chips in some of its 5G devices. Also, Verizon (VZ) and AT&T (T), the top US mobile network operators, ordered 5G phones from Samsung last year, and those orders are expected to be delivered in the coming months. Qualcomm’s revenue fell 20% year-over-year to $4.8 billion in the first quarter of its fiscal 2019 (ended in December).

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